I went to Comic Con in Nashville, TN a few weeks back and met a few digital artists. Nick Minor and I chatted about his background as an artist and then I asked him if I could conduct an interview and he accepted.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Nick Minor and I'm a digital artist that specializes primarily in fan art. My wife and I work as vendors in many artist allies across the country in dozens of anime and comic conventions.
How did you get into digital art?
I took the path of digital art when I noticed everyone else doing it. Back in the late 90's, I used to read a lot of video gaming magazines, and in the letters section they would usually have a small quarter of the page--if that-- dedicated to fan art submissions from the reader base. Tomb Raider, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy. I was realizing for the first time how different and interesting a game character could look when seen through the lens of a different artist, and it was through this tiny monthly window that I was exposed to digital art, the prevailing medium of the modern day fan artist. Back in 1998 I didn't have a single component to do any of it myself back then (scanner, program, tablet), but I knew that it was the stylus that I wanted next in my tool kit, not the Copic marker.
Why did you want to become a digital artist?
For fame of course! No really, the fan artists in those magazine art galleries were so cool, so talented. How could I not want they had? And, as I was exposed to Deviant Art and internet galleries in the 2000s, the one thing all of those artists continued to have in common was digital implementation. By going digital, I would have the most control over what went on the canvas, be it undos, color adjustment, or canvas re-sizing. Going digital meant having complete OCD tweak control over my art. It also seemed to come about at a critical time in my run as a traditional artist. In the 90's, using Prismacolor markers was the best way to get the boldest colors, but my progress with them was faltering because I could never find a good color for skin. It either came out looking too dark, or too sickly de-saturated. It was this stumbling block that made the emergence of digital art (and reliable skin color!) seem like such a boon.
What is it about art that you love?
Being able to elicit emotions with characters--be they original or fan-made--has always been something I enjoy doing. To show them in a different light than what was already known about them, or to intensify the connection between the story and the viewer [was what I loved.] I love how an artist can take a thing and keep it fresh through endless reinterpretation.
I also love how an artist's style can always be changing. The pursuit of better art drives me on a day to day basis--there's always room for improvement!
What does art mean to you?
Art is the extraction of something at the front of my mind that I need to see expressed in the world. And, usually it's something that I need to get out and share with others as soon as possible!
How did you become so passionate about art and why?
As a child, my art career took shape as a simple feedback loop of ''make good looking thing--get praise.' I made art for my own pleasure, but soon enough, I was doing it to amaze and entertain others, in my own limited way. As I improved--with my wife's help in crafting ideas and memorable prints--I ended up getting bigger and better and thus fulfilling a life goal I didn't know I had up to that point in life: leaving a lasting mark on the world. The proof? My name and studio brand are easily searchable online--no digging required!